No return for Kubica? Sirotkin ‘is Williams favourite’

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In the round-up: Robert Kubica’s chances of returning to Formula One have been dealt another blow as Sergey Sirotkin is now considered favourite to land the final vacant seat.

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Nase felt very strongly that Felipe Massa appears too low in this year’s Driver Rankings. Here’s part of their explanation why (you can read the full comment here):

So, yes, with a car that looked capable of points in virtually every race (except Monaco, Hungary, and Singapore, but it somehow even managed to score in two of those races), one should expect more than just 43 points. But if we look at the list of missed opportunities above, Massa’s performances were good enough to score up to 65 additional points, if we take the most optimistic estimations (Russia: six, Spain: eight, Canada six, Azerbaijan: 25, Singapore: six, Malaysia: six Mexico: eight), which would’ve been enough to rival the Force India drivers in the standings.

In contrast, there are very few opportunities where he seemed to have wasted points. China was such a race, where he failed to convert his excellent grid position (sixth) into points (seventh might’ve been possible). The car didn’t seem to like the drying conditions at all, but who knows if there are drivers who would’ve succeeded in making the tyres work that day. Then there’s Monza, where it’s conceivable that he could’ve finished the race in sixth instead of eighth if only he had qualified as high as his team mate, instead of finishing the race banging wheels with this team mate, who had started five places further ahead. And even if we were to blame Massa for the points he lost in Singapore and Malaysia, that’d result in a tally of 22 lost points (including 12 points that I think are highly debatable), a figure that is absolutely dwarfed by the points he lost due to misfortune.

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121 comments on “No return for Kubica? Sirotkin ‘is Williams favourite’”

  1. Williams really were second guessing with Kubica. Hoping for Williams sake Sirotkin is a fantastic driver. I cant judge whether this is good or not as i haven’t seen Sirotkin drive at all. Best of luck to Kubica, he gave it a shot but maybe it was just that bit much for him. Great effort to come back

    1. @johns23 Sirotkin is very quick, if prone to a few costly errors. Did very well in his first season in GP2 with a normally uncompetitive team, then did well again with an ART team that had had most of its top staff poached by Prema. Unfortunately he threw away a couple of wins in 2016 with silly mistakes but hopefully he can iron those out, then Williams will have a very strong driver I think.

    2. The human body is amazing in its ability to adapt, but there are some injuries that it just can’t overcome and Kubica’s neural injury is of that nature. Unrtunately it means he is not good enough for F1 now, but we knew that this was probably the case 6 years ago. This fairy tale return was just that, a fairy tale, and Sirotkin shouldn’t be held responsible for the let down many fans will feel.

      1. Not sure why people are convinced this means Kubica is not capable when its about money and nothing else. I’d say right now he’s still better than at least 10 current F1 drivers, with the potential to be back up there into the top five on the grid after a few races.
        He’s still got the pace (the last second will come in time), capable of full race distances, and no reason why he wouldn’t be just as sharp when it comes to race-craft – he was one of the best overtakers in the business, up there with Alonso.
        Plus hes young enough to come back for a good 4/5 years …and certainly deserves a drive more than Kimi, who has just been phoning it in every other weekend for the last four years!

    3. Williams Putin Racing ? Look who is behind SMP Bank. And Yes! SS didn’t outperformed Kubica.

  2. Excellent news about Sirotkin if true. A really good driver who deserves a chance. Shame for Kubica but wouldn’t want to see him come back and struggle. By the way, it is a little disingenuous to include here only the bit about Sirotkin’s funding (Kubica had money as well) and not the bit where it says Williams are thought to have chosen Sirotkin purely based on his impressive testing performances…

    1. Williams has not spoken about either drivers testing performances – everyones comparisions are guess work. But it seems that money was the issue here. Kubica had apparently about $8million, but Sirotkin with his mafia Russian mob lords offered $15 million. he will be an ok midfield drivers.

      1. @kpcart I spy a Russophobe.

    2. @toxic You have chosen a completely apt username my friend and that is a very disrespectful comment to make about some genuinely nice people. Here in F1 we’ve got a team principle facing huge corruption charges where the victims are likely to be ordinary people that trusted him, and yet you reserve your disgust for the hardest working team on the grid who have brought us fantastic competition over the years. Frank started with a public phone box as an ‘office’ and little else. He and his family have got where they are through sheer grit and determination. Unfortunately, for such a small private team, they have to make tough choices which affect their ability to survive. Name me one team, with the possible exception of Mercedes & Red Bull, who has NOT got a ‘pay’ driver who have always been part of the F1 scenery. You may be a frustrated Kubica fan and if you are, like you, I share your disappointment but Robert himself would not want to be carried – he would want to compete at the sharp end and so I don’t think he’ll be too upset about this. All that remains is to tell you that your comment is disgraceful.

  3. So Williams became a brothel… nice job Claire.

    1. @toxic That’s quite the overreaction.

      1. Maybe but it’s because it’s like saying goodbye to Kubica.
        Habsburg spoke extensively about sleeping patterns on’s “the flying lap” good show, and currently free to watch.

        1. @peartree But surely it’s better to say goodbye to Kubica like this than for him to get a seat for purely sentimental reasons, then for him to struggle. That would be a bad ending to a nice story. And anyway, Williams have to choose what’s best for them. If Kubica was not on the pace, that’s not the team’s fault. Likewise it’s not Sirotkin’s fault if he impressed them. So a bit more level-headedness is required from some fans.

          1. you keep writing the same thing, no team would choose kubica for sentimental reasons. they would sign him for his talent, which the whole world has seen.

          2. If he’s that good then why haven’t Williams and Renault signed him? Even if he was great before his accident (I’d debate that) then he’s bound to have lost at least a little since then.

          3. @tflb Maybe, but regardless everyone would look up at his efforts all things considered.

      2. Maybe not so much an over-reaction as a delayed one. Williams became a brothel a few years ago. It’s a mistake to expect anything more from them at this point.

      3. No it isn’t. When in the last years have Williams gone for anything but the money?

    2. Did you read the article? Because it sounds like you just read that snippet posted up there.

      The important part of the article:

      it has emerged that based purely on performance, data suggests Sirotkin is the stronger candidate.

      1. Well if you don’t test the two most obvious candidates (Kvyat and Wehrlein), yes I guess it’s a good choice…

    3. Lets be honest. They were clearly only considering Kubica also because of the money he is bringing with him.

      Sirotkin is faster and brings a few million more. Seems like an easy choice.

      Williams went above and beyond to give Kubica an extra chance after Kubica was already shown to be too slow during the Renault tests. He was on par with Palmer’s pace there.

      1. Let’s also be fair. Williams have been quite upfront about needing more money and Claire has often raised the unfairness of the way teams receive payments.

        1. Yes, but as someone already mentioned Kubica has a budget to bring with him as well. So based on pace and budget, the two most crucial factors for Williams (and midfield F1 teams generally), Sirotkin is the better choice according to the team.

    4. You might not like it but the car is 90% of the equation and the meat sack in it is the other 10%. So best to get the meat sack to help pay for the development of the car. In Williams situation you would do the same, I’m sure.

      1. That’s normally the case, but the midfield is so tight these days the 0.2 – 0.4s the driver brings to the table matters more than 10%, and if the driver is really underperforming and being 0.5s off the average a car can do as their pay-driver seems to then it’s even more again.

      2. Meat sacks? Or, ugly bags of mostly water! Let’s debate…

  4. Sirotkin cannot remain in f1, that’s all I’m gonna say, and he didn’t even have a race yet!

    More seriously, in my opinion massa did an awesome job his age considered this year and deserved to stay; as he apparently doesn’t, I’d rather have a kubica return and see if he can be roughly the same driver as he was.

    1. @esploratore Don’t you think it’s a bit quick to judge a driver, with an impressive albeit not stellar junior record, before he’s even driven a race? I do hope Sergey has thick skin/doesn’t read these sites because he’s going to come in for a hell of a lot of unjustified criticism before the season’s even started!

      1. @tflb, I do agree that there is a bit of an over reaction from a number of figures here, as I would agree that Sirotkin does have a solid enough record in junior series to suggest that he does have a reasonable level of ability.

        I think part of the big problem that Sirotkin has is that quite a large chunk of the fan base wanted to see Kubica come back, and picking Sirotkin spoils the tale that so many wanted to hear (that of Kubica, through shear force of will, making it back into the sport from a seemingly impossible position).

        Even if it is the case that Sirotkin wins the place because, as the article suggests, his performance in testing proved to be better than that of Kubica, people are going to resent the fact that they see him as “denying” Kubica the chance to return and will want to take out their frustrations on him.

        To some extent, I do wonder if there is perhaps an element of Sirotkin’s nationality playing into this as well, given that he is Russian and that Russia is viewed in a more negative light these days in much of the world.

        1. Oh yes there’s a hell of a lot of poorly disguised Russophobia around (if it’s even disguised at all).

          1. nah.. Sirotkin will be another midfield wannabe that only gets the seat because of money, so many better young drivers then him, even if you don’t like Kubica, I think your Russian by the way, very defensive of Sirotkin, and very offensive against Kubica.

          2. kpcart No I’m not Russian, I’m thoroughly British. Test me if you like. I haven’t been offensive against Kubica at all, although I freely admit I never rated him as more than a Perez/Hulkenberg level driver. All I can say about Sirotkin is I think he has good pace and let’s give him a chance before writing him off, eh?

          3. Considering the recent Russian doping scandal the phobia sounds justified.

          4. kpcart, you accuse @tflb of “not liking Kubica” and being “very offensive against Kubica”, but most of his posts have been reasonably evenly balanced towards him – certainly more balanced in tone and nowhere near as aggressive as your posts.

            Let’s be honest, there are drivers who have been promoted into F1 whose junior record is not exactly stunning, but have been more highly regarded once entering the sport.

            Take a look at Caros Sainz Jr’s record in anything other than a Formula Renault car, for example – in Formula 3, Sainz Jr was just 6th in the British F3 championship (out of only 12 full time competitors), 5th in the European F3 championship and 9th in the F3 Euro series, whilst in GP3 he was only 10th.

            In the British F3 championship, where he raced for Carlin, all four of his team mates beat him in the standings (it’s true that Sainz did miss the last round, but then he’d probably have beaten only Tincknell and been 5th at best in the standings); in the F3 Euro series, his team mate (William Buller) had more than 1.5 times his points total (182 to 112) and finished four places higher in the rankings. Whilst he did beat Buller in the European F3 championship, Buller missed a fifth of the races that season and probably would have been on a similar total to Sainz Jr.

            In GP3, meanwhile, he was utterly thrashed by Kvyat, who was his team mate that season – Kvyat won the series with 168 points, whilst Sainz Jr was on 66. He even managed to get beaten by figures such as Alexander Sims – who only competed in half the races that season – and Kevin Korjus, drivers who weren’t exactly household names at the time.

            As for the question of financial backing in the case of Sainz Jr, Cepsa (who were sponsoring Sainz at the time) were pretty blunt about the fact that they used their financial muscle to get Sainz Jr a seat at Toro Rosso. Meanwhile, there have been suggestions that the Spanish insurer Mapfre, which joined Renault at the start of 2017, helped broker Sainz Jr’s position at Renault.

            Would you have said that much of Sainz Jr’s junior career suggested he was “another midfield wannabe that only gets the seat because of money”?

        2. Spot on. I’m completely over reacting. I loved the idea of Kubica coming back and here in the USofA, the Russian Govt is considered a bunch of a holes, I suppose there is a valid trickle down of that emotion that smears Sirotkin.

    2. @esploratore So, to satisfy your curiosity about how well Robert might have done, you would be happy to risk the jobs of 500 people? It seems fairly obvious to everyone (except you) that Robert didn’t quite cut it for whatever reason and that it was on the cards since the time when Renault walked away. F1 is a hard game, you don’t get to ‘try out’ on the off chance. Sirotkin may be an inspired choice, he may be hopeless but Williams clearly put a lot of thought and effort into it and didn’t rush to judgement despite the huge emotional pressure to take Robert on.

      1. @baron What if the 15 millions sirotkin is bringing have more of an impact than the performance? I didn’t find much data about how they performed in the tests, you know

        1. Yes there’s always a possibility but in this case I think they’ve gone for performance/points @esploratore. This is where the real rewards are and to be honest, $15 million is chicken feed in F1. I’m not sure it’s even enough to pay for the PU’s. I believe Robert would have been just too much of an unknown risk. I’m really sorry it doesn’t look as if he’ll get the seat. F1 fans everywhere have been united in wishing for it to happen and your point about Kubica Sainz & Renault is a good one which I hadn’t considered.

      2. Also, renault didn’t take kubica cause of the sainz deal, it didn’t have to do with his performance, sainz was well proven in current f1 and toro rosso, to break renault engine deal, had to give up sainz to renault.

  5. Odd remarks from RBR, their rhetoric adds haste to a decision that doesn’t need to be sorted till mid next year. They have their ‘future’ already locked into contract so does it really matter to them who is in the other car? Both sides benefit from being able to push the decision out as far as possible.

    The Kubica situation leave me in two minds, i’d dearly love to see him in a race seat, however we have so much talent coming through the ranks that need seats. Just to get back in a car with competitive times is amazing.

  6. Stroll-Sirotkin… now there’s a lineup to strike fear into the hearts of rival teams.

    I don’t actually think Sirotkin is a horribly bad driver – he’s come a fair way in recent years, after being pushed too hard when he was a kid – but… I don’t think Williams have ever fielded a more underwhelming driver pairing. Maldonado-Senna is the only one that comes close.

    1. The thing is, though, Williams have always had a mediocre driver pairing over the last couple of years, whereas their rivals Force India have consistently managed to field strong driver pairings. And I agree, this looks to be their weakest driver pairing in years. Something is wrong there, and the arrival of Lowe did not fix it.

      1. If Lowe is going to change things that will take time. I somehow doubt he is a silver bullet to all of their problems. Mediocrity will take more than a few years to clean out of that team. They just seem content to have pay drivers how can occasionally rise to the occasion through attrition.

    2. A rookie and a guy who still drives like a rookie.

      What a kindergarten this team has become.

      1. I can’t fathom why a mid field team like Williams would consider ‘A rookie and a guy who still drives like a rookie’.
        Kvyat has had a bad time under Marko, but he has a point or ten to prove and he HAS talent, his RBR/STR unhappiness could be the ingredient that motivates him.
        Revenge is a dish best served cold, and Williams need such a driver.

  7. So sad about Robert. He was so close to returning. FOr him tho, I’m sure testing a current car and feeling capable of doing well must already be a win.

  8. This is not the Russian I wanted to see in the Williams!

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      12th December 2017, 9:13

      Assuming you mean Kvyat, I agree. I know they could be after Sirotkin because of his money. But a Rookie against a driver who’s just had one pretty bad season at Willaims? Not a very good option. I know Kvyat has just had a pretty bad season, but at leased he’s had 4 seasons and his first was pretty good and his 2nd was certainly solid. He would be a safer choice and I could see him putting his performances back together as he did in 2015 if he has a fresh start with a new team.

      1. @thegianthogweed Yes exactly. If I were Williams, I would take on Kvyat even if Sirotkin has a bit more money, based on his experience alone. Toro Rosso could have brought Gasly in from the beginning on 2017 but they kept Kvyat for his experience and technical inputs. Kvyat also has shown he has pace, as seen in 2014 and 2015. He is a strong candidate for that seat. My choice for next year would be Kvyat-Massa or Kvyat-Sirotkin. No, I’m not Russian.

        1. Kvyat has no cash behind him, and stroll’s contribution is as much as a title sponsor. But its strange they didnt bring kvyat to the test, it would make the comparison a lot more valid.

  9. All the salty Kubica fans at Williams official Facebook

  10. I thought Williams needed to get a 25 Year Old driver due to their alcohol sponsorships. Anybody know if this was lifted or not true since they’re looking so much into Sirotkin?

    1. @pezlo2013 Sirotkin being the number #1 favorite now more or less proves that the Martini’s wish of at least one of the drivers being at least 25 isn’t a must (even though it’s been stated by Paddy Lowe some have still claimed otherwise). If it were a ‘must’ then Sirotkin would automatically be entirely out of the running for the remaining seat at Williams, i.e., on that basis, he wouldn’t have any more chance to get the drive than Wehrlein and Kvyat.

    2. Autosport and Joe Saward both mentioned some time ago (on various podcasts and in “print”) that he “25 year old driver” requirement from Martini wasn’t an absolute requirement, it could be got round if necessary.

    3. money gets around a lot of things!

    4. It was never more than a strong wish apparently, but sirotkin looks older than he is, so i guess he works for martini too.

  11. Williams could play Money for nothing to present their 2018 car then.

  12. If Kubica can’t, what’s stopping Williams from hiring JB, it’s such a natural thing to expect. JB on marketing and sponsorship is probably worth more than those £15 million, and 90% of fans would be onboard with the decision.

    1. I think Button has no interest whatsoever in returning to F1 – I’d rather see a promising young driver like Sirotkin (or Giovinazzi, Rosenqvist etc) anyway.

    2. JB categorically ruled out a return to F1 when speaking at his book signing in London. He also admitted speaking to Williams (and Ferrari) on numerous occasions while at Mclaren, one time the deal was almost done….

      1. Button, FERRARI???!!!!
        Somebody’s wishful thinking, eh Jens?

    3. @peartree, how many times does Button have to say that he doesn’t want to come back to F1 for you to get the message? He’s made it very clear that he’s had his fill of racing in F1 and the enthusiasm just isn’t there any more – indeed, it was quite clear towards the end of his time in F1 that he’d lost interest – and he wants to race elsewhere.

      1. And he was only a tiny bit better than Massa in my opinion. Safer pair of hands but really needed the car in the sweet spot to deliver a result.

        1. He (JB) was a whole 1 WDC better! Ok let’s not go down that road any further. One of the most memorable (and quite sad) moments in F1 history is when his Dad thought Felipe had nailed the no.1 spot only to be dumped in weeds a few minutes later. I thought Felipe deserved the WDC that year and it was his only chance.

          1. Button WDC came with a perfect first half of the season with a Mercedes’s level dominance (6 wins in 7 races). I very much doubt if he had a better team mate he would have won that WDC (Barrichello isn’t exactly worse than him but he isn’t definitely superior too).

    4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      12th December 2017, 19:37

      Button signed a 2 year deal at the end of 2016 as McLaren’s ambassador. Although it seems he may have broken out of that. I’m not sure.

  13. I’m curious. Clearly a driver from a large country that is unrepresented in F1 could bring big sponsorship to the team. Think China, USA, or Russia.

    But is there a way for F1 to reward these teams? Seems to me like having large potential markets represented is a major win for F1.

    No USA driver, so maybe not.

    1. Clearly a driver from a large country that is unrepresented in F1 could bring big sponsorship to the team.

      But then again all countries more populous than Russia won’t have drivers in F1 (including the USA and Brazil).
      And also GDP wise Russia is not that big, behind others without drivers like Italy and Japan.

  14. Sad, but not surprised about Kubica decision.

    1. I’m not trying to raise false hopes, but the Autosport article didn’t quote a person of authority at Williams, and did use phrases like “Talks with the 22-year-old Russian, who has performed reserve duties for Renault this year, are now at an advanced stage. …it is believed there are several details still to be ironed out before the final contract is signed.” and “…it is believed Kubica is no longer in contention for the race seat,…”.

  15. Williams should have given Kubica the first half of the season with a performance clause so if he cant perform then Sirotkin takes over the rest of the season.

    1. The problem for that was the insurance payment that Kubica received. That payment has to be made as soon as Robert races just one race. Difficult for Robert to pay back that money and then get dropped midway through the season.

    2. We can surmise from the test-time that Kubica has had with both Renault and Williams that he hasn’t shown the pace or potential to make it worthwhile for Williams to do that.

  16. Highest bidder.

    1. If Sirotkin brings the most money plus was the more impressive driver to Williams in testing, then why wouldn’t they sign him? Best of both worlds.

  17. Here we go again…. We now have to endure all of the rumours about Williams driver until Williams actually make the announcement.

    As for Red Bull not waiting forever, look at it from Daniel’s perspective – he’s still waiting for a competitive car, something that Red Bull really stuffed up for 2017 (regardless of PU) so I’d say it’s more a matter of Daniel won’t wait forever. Pretty sure he’ll have a clear idea of where he’ll be from 2019 immediately after testing has been completed early next year.

    1. It is believed that Autosport understands that it is believed that nothing has happened yet, but it is believed that Autosport is believed to be publishing a story anyway. According to a source close to the ketchup.

      Remember when Autosport used to report things that had actually happened?

      1. Getting the same reports from sites unconnect with Autosport since early morning so it’s hard to say where/when it started, buts it’s got legs and is running…

  18. Red Bull will find it harder to find a driver to match what Ricciardo brings to the table than Ricciardo will have finding a top team to take him.

    1. Exactly – he brings huge marketing value for them

      Mind you I’m not sure other top teams have room for him (or more to the point won’t have issues with their current drivers not wanting him in their team)

      1. Mercedes and Ferrari have admitted they can’t handle two top drivers. Maybe partly as you say the drivers wouldn’t have it either.

        1. (eternal optimist speaking)
          Maybe Renault & McLaren will become top teams in 2019.

        2. I hope Daniel doesn’t become the Number 2 driver at Ferrari, that would be too awful to bare. “Move over Daniel, Sebastian has newer tyres … Sorry Daniel, I know you have newer tyres, but Sebastian is almost within DRS range”.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      12th December 2017, 12:13

      @johnrkh – 100%. That’s why they are trying to put the pressure on Ricciardo to sign now rather than waiting. If he left Red Bull, Ferrari and potentially Mercedes would dive in.

      They say they have options but none anywhere near as good as Ricciardo.

      1. As someone who isn’t as enthralled with DR as many, which will go some way towards explaining my stance, I think he is in a bit of a tough position. But perhaps the ‘good’ kind of tough. Although, as Horner points out, he does have the opportunity to see what team is where next year before he decides. And then there is the reality that other teams have their decisions they’ll want to make too, ie. it’s not just up to DR.

        Oh I know DR is a good driver and all…I just haven’t been able to warm up to him. To me his options, assuming all are available to him, are to stay at RBR and continue to get beaten by Max, go to Ferrari and be SV’s number two (by most fans’ opinion, not necessarily mine, but at least a natural number two imho), or go to Mercedes and get beaten by LH.

        In fairness it sounds like the overwhelming opinion is that those options will be available to him, so I just hope he does actually bring the fight to whomever his teammate(s) will be. I’m the first one to say that when a driver inherits points and wins, that’s just racing…you have to be there in order to take advantage of that. It just feels to me like too much of DR’s success has been inherited, and I think his performance (or lack thereof) against Max this season is telling.

        I do hope I’m wrong and that DR can be a ‘gloves off’ kind of challenger to Max, or Seb, or Lewis in the future, but for me I will believe it when I see it. I think it starts for him by showing RBR and the other teams that he can dominate Max rather than the other way around, and that is going to be his first big challenge in the new year and will raise his stock if he can come out swinging. He has to, imho, after being soundly beaten by Max on the track when both have been healthy.

        1. @robbie If Ricciardo joined Ferrari, why would the quicker driver become the number 2 driver?

          1. @mashiat I don’t see DR as the quicker driver, and if most people are to be believed, anybody beside SV at Ferrari is a number 2.

            I’ll assume you are using 2014 as some ‘proof’ that DR is better/faster than SV, but I don’t. I see 2014 as the year SV went from having a Championship car that garnered him mega success four years running, to having a dog that he hated and could barely finish a race. DR on the other hand got elevated to his best opportunity he’d ever had, with no pressure to do anything but his best. SV didn’t suddenly forget how to win races and Championships between 2013 and 2014, nor did DR, who just got schooled by Max this year, suddenly become a Champion beater in 2014.

            Don’t get me wrong I think it would be wonderful if DR went to Ferrari and was given equal opportunity to beat SV, and I actually think they are less one rooster-like with KR than many believe, and could potentially be that way if DR was there too. And if DR did actually go there and actually best SV I’d have a different outlook on him, but there’s several ‘if’s’ there.

  19. This more or less proves that the Martini’s wish of at least one of the drivers being at least 25 isn’t a must (even though it’s been stated by Paddy Lowe some have still claimed otherwise). If it were a ‘must’ then Sirotkin would automatically be entirely out of the running for the remaining seat at Williams, i.e., on that basis, he wouldn’t have any more chance to get the drive than Wehrlein and Kvyat.

  20. Sirotkin was a very exciting gp2 driver. I enjoyed following him. I’m actually thinking he will beat stroll quite handily. But that’s one under prepared line up for Williams if it comes to be.

  21. I read that Autosport article in full and I do question the credibility of it. It seems to have be written more out of guesswork than facts with phrases such as “it is believed” and “it has emerged”. It also says that “Williams is remaining tightlipped and not making any official comment”. I don’t really believe any driver is favourite for that seat at the moment.

    1. Well, true, but wilkiams quickly denied any rumors of rowland, yet is absolutely silent about sirotkin and kubica

  22. Utterly pathetic.

  23. If Ricciardo was Kimi, his new contract would still be 10 months away, and nobody would be batting an eyelid. I have not understood one bit of this over-exaggeration about Ricciardo’s future at Red Bull.

    1. @ho3n3r Maybe because one is one of the best drivers in the field, and beat a 4 time world champion, whilst the other is a driver that should have ended his F1 career first time around in 2009, and is mediocre at best, and is getting trashed by the same world champion that the other guy beat.

      1. @mashiat See my reply to you just a bit above, and I would just add that I don’t subscribe to the kind of math you and others sometimes use. DR ‘beat’ what I would call an SV that in 2014 must have felt like he had one hand tied behind his back, so bad was that car compared to what he was accustomed for 4 years, and that now therefore means DR is a better driver than SV forever and ever. No chance to consider how circumstances and cars and tires etc etc change from one year to the next. It is now written in stone DR is better than SV.

        I don’t get that thinking.

        1. Indeed, chances are they’d come out even.

  24. William$.

    1. If only they had a team manager capable of hiring 4 drivers.

  25. Would those complaining about Williams taking the money be saying the same if Kubica was in the seat as he was taking a substantial amount of backing with him as well. The only driver Williams was seriously looking at that wasn’t bringing sponsorship was Paul Di Resta, I gather Kvyat had some Russian backers ready to back him should he have gotten the drive.

    With regards to Kubica & Sirotkin, All the data showed that Sirotkin was faster plain & simple. And it’s not as if people can say ‘Yeah right’ because all that info has been in the media since the Abu Dhabi test because it was obvious to everyone that was there & was paying attention.

    Williams were looking at which driver would offer them the best performance, They went in fully expecting it to be Robert & gave him every chance to prove that belief but in the end they came out somewhat surprised that the driver that showed the best performance was Sirotkin.

    1. I get the choise Williams were looking at @gt-racer. They looked at Kubica, but were not quite convinced. And that was despite him also brining maybe some 10 million on the table. They loved his feedback and drive. But compared to Sirotkin he was somewhat down (as far as the team has indicated, and the times we have seen show, maybe one could also read that into what Renault has put out) on pace, consistency etc.
      And it looks like Sirotkin’s backers were able to meet what Robert was bringing and then some more. Overall, when comparing the thrilling PR idea, but big gamle involved in taking Kubica, with a young, slightly faster driver like Sirotkin, who also brings a bit more money, I really can’t blame the team for going with that second option.

      Sure, It might have been a fairytale. But then again, it could have amounted to nothing. And I don’t think Williams are a gambling team, they are choosing based on reality, data and have to also look at the longer term.

  26. So we can read between the lines Kubica was not fast enough, just like it was with Renault test.

    Which still brings us to Williams needing an Alonso (according to Claire) and settling for two pay drivers. Sirotkin might be fast, but Stroll we already know is not fast enough.

    Bad situation. Team has no chance to beat SFI now.

  27. Kubica coming back would be great, but not if just for money. The fact he can still drive an F1 car with his injuries is amazing, but also may reflect on these new cars weren’t as hard to drive as we were told they may be- I didn’t see any drivers pass out like in the 80’s as was suggested.

    Williams are getting bagged for taking highest offer and holding out (they know all drivers data by know) but I think they need best financial/speed fit. Not sure best option but see what they decide.

    Also talks on Ricciardo’s contract. We see how Red Bull and certain advisors treat the so-called 2nd driver – not sure how this shows their RBR junior driver program works well- but Max will get better treatment now. With Hamilton making “I can see me beating Michael” comments seems he may drive next year and retire.

    Dan to Mercedes to join Bottas. A better bet than him beating Max at Red Bull. As usual Red Bull family isn’t always the best bet. If Bottas drives like this year (very well, but not awesome) they may promote Ocon. Daniel & Ocon- that’s a great battle I think!!

  28. It’s disappointing for Kubica not to get a drive, BUT at the same time let’s be honest – we’re talking about driving a Williams. That car is rubbish, and that team has been rubbish for a long time now, with no improvement on the horizon.


  29. No matter who Williams go with, that’s a team that needs better management decisions. To me it seems that waiting even this long to name your driver is bound to be counterproductive. Make a decision, get the guy used to to the team, the car, the workflows, everything, because inevitably you will get more out of your driver if he’s fully plugged in, knows that he’s the guy, he knows the mechanics, the team dynamics, etc etc. It’s like anyone at any job – the more time you have to acclimate, the more you’ll be able to use the best of your abilities because you’ve internalized a whole bunch of stuff about your work environment. I think what they really need is to name a team principal whose surname isn’t Williams, who can take an objective detached look at the organization and start making steps in a more solid direction.

    1. @maciek I kind of think that’s why Paddy is there because Claire is a Mum now and will want to nurture the little fellow, set him up with a stick on steering wheel, that kind of thing. As a director of the company I believe Paddy will become the ‘face’ of the team from next year and I wish him, and the whole team the very best of luck. They are great people..

    2. If it is true that there will be two pay drivers at Williams, why do they stop there?

      Could pickup some extra dosh by hiring race engineers that bring their own sponsorship funds. But, why stop there? Sponsored aerodynamists – if they’re not doing that already. Team principal and technical directors backed by the billionaire du jour – if they’re not doing that already.

      There’s so many revenue streams that Williams are neglecting to the detriment of their shareholders. With these subtle tweaks to the team’s income stream, they could have a Ferrari-like budget to spend and like Ferrari, wouldn’t cost them a single lira.

  30. GtisBetter (@)
    12th December 2017, 20:28

    There are two ways to bring money to a team. Either in $$ or by scoring points. The more you bring of one, the less you need of the other. I feel Sirotkin has Kubica beat on both. Of course we will never know for sure, but they should have plenty of data on kubica to make an informed decision.

  31. If Williams is so much after money despite having Stroll onboard, why didn’t they try to sign Ericsson? He has loads of money, his Sauber seat was highly in doubt, Williams is a step forward compared to Sauber, and he has 4 years experience. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Sirotkin, but if you are replacing Massa, yo might want to have more than 20 races experience among the TWO driver of yours. The last time Williams had two paydrivers in 2012, they might have scored a win, but Maldonado and Senna were way too far from exploiting the potential of the car, and I can’t see how a Stroll-Sirotking pair could.

  32. Imagine; this was the team that Ayrton Senna joined because, in the 1990s, you had to be in one of those cars to have the best chance of winning a World Championship.

  33. I think what’s going on the minds in Williams is ,

    They want a quick driver ! With Stroll they already have the money but they know Stroll is not consistent and is only occasionally fast, He seems to do the job, bag in the points but the special talent is not there. I can remember two races where Williams had the oppurtunity to get on the podium, but Stroll was nowhere near.

    They are looking for the next best talent so that they can take a shot at such times.

    With Kubica’s test sessions not much promise was shown, he was lapping times in softs that were just tenths off from newer drivers with hards (something we witnessed at the Abu Dhabi tests).

    Sirotkin seems to be quick, is young, may reach his prime after a few races. Williams would more likely want to try their luck on him I would guess. He could also be a long term driver if things go right, something that is not achievable with Kubica.

  34. I think one of the biggest issues with new drivers is the current restrictions on testing. I fully understand that testing is restricted to reduce costs but I think we need to consider the how much it’s hurt young drivers. Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and others came up in a time of unlimited testing (on the current cars) and they all made VERY fast progress in F1. New drivers now don’t have that advantage and IMO it’s really hurting the sport. Stroll was struggling but because his dad had the money to spend on extra in-season testing (on a 2 year old car) he was able to make notable progress.

    I would like to see F1 establish a much extensive testing plan for rookie drivers. By carefully timing the tests and limiting it to rookies, it would give the new drivers a chance to hone their skill and have a better chance to compete. It would also likely result in safer, more skilled new drivers, less crashes and better sport for everyone, including the fans!

  35. It’s a bit disheartening to think that Williams might have two pay drivers in 2018. Stroll has been mediocre at best (with one very lucky exception) and Sirotkin would be coming in as OK talent but stating as a rookie with all of obstacles that brings with it. It’s quite sad that Williams is in such financial stress that it can’t afford to find at least one driver that it can hire based primarily on talent…

  36. It would seem that it is going to drag on until January now. Presumably someone has asked for more time to raise more money to buy the seat. If it was going to be on merit it would all be over by now, best man won etc.
    Williams, that once great team, seems now to have joined the bottom feeders.

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